Smoke Signals Unlike sign language, smoke signals aimed to send a secret message

native american smoke signals true west magazine

Did you ever wonder if the Indians could send messages by smoke signals (as in Morse code) or if they only meant something specific that was agreed too beforehand e.g. “I see white men,”? They didn’t have a complicated message such as “Red Cloud has 347 warriors two miles east of the river headed for the fort. They will get there at 10:14 AM tomorrow.”

Unlike sign language, smoke signals aimed to send a secret message, usually some sort of pre-arranged code since they would be visible to both friend and foe. These would be pre-arranged. However, there were some basic signals. For example, one puff would mean. “Attention.” Two puffs, “All’s Well,” and three puffs, “Danger, or Help.”

The number three is universal even today with hunters, outdoorsmen and Boy Scouts when one is signaling for help. Usually this would be whistling three times, firing three shots or even three puffs from a fire to signal, “Distress or Help.”

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